Saturday, October 06, 2018

The Magus

The bastard son of a magus, Logan MacGaraidh was born in Aberdeenshire in the seventeenth century. He never knew his actual birthdate. The Old Religion maintained an underground presence despite the Christian overlay.

Logan was raised Catholic, which sublimated the witchcraft of his Pictish ancestors under the pious veneer of sacramental priestcraft. Yet the underlying affinity was clear: both were religions of magic potions, incantations, and enchantments. A magus in Catholic vestments. Although Logan was not a devil-worshiper, he inherited the powers of his shadowy father, whom he barely knew.

Logan adored the wild misty landscape: the lochs, bluffs, rivers, and coastlines. He hiked the length and breadth of Aberdeenshire.

It was a hazardous time to be alive, for Catholic and Covenanter alike. The balance of power shifted and shifted, with fatal results for the losing side–and each side lost.

Raised by his mother's kinfolk, they were massacred while Logan was hiking. When he returned to his hamlet, bodies and burning buildings were left.

Always something of an outsider, life in his beloved Aberdeenshire became unbearable with all his youthful friends and relatives dead. So he crossed the sea to Connecticut.

While not exactly tolerant, religious life in Colonial Connecticut wasn't a life-and-death affair. For the first time he was able to consider the Protestant faith with a certain detachment. In seventeenth-century Aberdeenshire, conversion would betray your kith and kin. Religious affiliation was as much more of a statement of clan solidarity and loyalty than doctrinal conviction. But with all his relatives dead, and living in a new land, he no longer had that duty to uphold.

He never took Catholicism seriously. A camouflaged version of his heathen ancestors. But Colonial Puritans presented a dramatic point of contrast. Reactionary, perhaps, but bracing.

For the first time he could see more clearly how sorcery fit into a larger narrative. His father represented a mutinous band of fallen men and fallen angels while Christ and his saints represent the winning side.

He didn't see the need to renounce his powers. All power ultimately derives from God, and he figured that he could use it for good.

Owing to his natural affinity with the aboriginal heathens, he became a missionary to the Mohegan, Pequot, Nipmuck, and Narragansett tribes. At his first encounter he was attacked by Pequot braves, but he extended a finger to draw a ring of fire around the charging braves. Encircled by the wall of fire, glowing in the twilight, the assailants were subdued, and escorted him to their village. Rumor made him an instant legend among the tribes.

Yet he was still an outsider. Colonial Connecticut never felt like home. His alienation was less about place than time. He left Scotland because it was too late to feel at home there, after the loss of his kinfolk. And he was now a stranger in a strange land.

Rather than moving in space, he began to move in time–traveling into the future. He could always make a living as a history teacher, drawing on his firsthand knowledge of the past–although he had to disguise his source of knowledge.

Finally, out of curiosity, he returned to Connecticut in 2020. Apart from a few historic buildings, the populated areas were unrecognizable. He went back to a historic cemetery.

There he met an archeologist and historian. As luck would have it, Effie had Celtic coloring–emerald eyes and flaming hair–which reminded him of pretty girls he knew from his long-lost homeland.

She never felt at home in her own century, which is why she became a historian with a personal interest in Colonial America. Which is why she was poking around this cemetery.

Many of the original graves were covered over, but from the remaining graves Logan could tell where to find the hidden graves. He pointed to a spot of ground, gave names and dates.

Scraping away the layers revealed the forgotten graves and flattened tombstones. She was puzzled by his uncanny knowledge. He also explained how one family was related to another. At first she was incredulous, but as she followed up on his leads in historic records, she received confirmation.

Eventually he let her in on his secret, which would be unbelievable were it not for his inexplicable knowledge of the past. Not the past in general, but pockets of the past. Deep rather than wide. Provincial but detailed.

A romance blossomed. Effie asked him if he was homesick for the Aberdeenshire of his youth. Did he ever hanker to return?

He said he no longer felt at home there after all his kinfolk were massacred. It was a ghost town.

She asked him if he could take her back into the past. Back to the Aberdeenshire, but during a more peaceful time. There they could both start afresh. Make a life together.

And so they did. They led a quiet life, so as not to unweave the future from whence she came. And when they died, they were buried unto a Celtic cross, to await the resurrection of the body.

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